by Andrew Boyscout
Our elders do remember the days when mind altering drugs were not a part of life. Survival was the focus in every part of the lives of the people. Respect was a way of life that was taught by the leaders. The chiefs communicated with the community, spoke in public gatherings, they had genuine care for the people.
They were not there for the money, they were not there for the image, recognition, credit, acknowledgement, etc. But to some, it is the only source of income and they do the best they can to rule with a rod of iron.
Here is a question … an ongoing issue, that could very well be fixed.
Back before the Bethel Council voted to close the liquor store;
Why do we continue to have an issue with the use of alcohol? Issue meaning, increased crime after liquor store was opened (you cannot deny the reports) but another license is submitted regardless. More deaths involving alcohol (you cannot deny the reports), more cases with Women’s Shelters (you cannot deny the reports), more surrounding villages crying for help because of it. It’s a continued council meeting agenda item, then there are more domestic violence’s, etc.
Why do we continue to have an issue with the use of alcohol?
We know many are affected by the use everywhere.
One person shuts down a whole community.
One person brings grief, sorrow, unwanted results to many.
One is wanting that mind altering liquor because it makes him dance, another wants to relax, another wants to socialize, another wants to enjoy dinner with a glass of wine, another drowns the bad memories, etc…
In all reality, we can dance, relax, socialize, eat, and fix spiritual conditions without alcohol.
Why is it an issue to introduce prohibition? It hurts nobody to remove the source, it helps in every part of our lives and our community and of course the world by removing the source.
We know it takes away the revenue of the seller. There are other ways to earn money.
We know it takes away the tax income for the city. Liquor is not the only source that is taxable.
Then there is the Alcohol Board … they are doing the best they can to create a positive use of alcohol. They are men, women, just like we are. They decide based on their own personal beliefs. They could very well have controlled drinking habits. Government officials drink. They want to dance, relax, socialize, enjoy dinner with a glass of wine, and drown their bad memories with this mind-altering drink.
But, in all reality, IT IS AN ISSUE. Prohibition removes the issue.
But then, what we used to call good has become bad, and what we called bad has become good.
What we as Christians call sin is accepted by the majority, and what we call a righteous act is considered WRONG by this present-day society.
Leaders (I believe) in every village have made policies, ordinances, regulations, in reference to the destructive effects of alcohol to the individuals, to families, to communities. But sadly, SOME members of the leaders themselves are the users and abusers of the problem. Don’t get me wrong, some, not all.
Few years back, YKHC started the advertisement of the negative effects of tobacco, both the smokeless and cigarettes. Here was this one leader of that organization pinching snuff in full view of the public at the airport, then pulls out a cigarette and walks out to smoke.
What kind of a “billboard” is that when you are running an advertisement against a product and using it while your company is running flyers, video presentations, call-in numbers for help, against this product?
One Health Aide told my wife not too long ago, “We in the village are not a part of YKHC,” while that person had a wad of snuff bulging in his mouth.
That defeats the purpose of the effort to improve health and save lives.
Last August, AVCP had a Public Safety listening session at The Cultural Center. ACVP member villages were invited, council members, tribal police, tribal staff, and other interested parties.
It was a very emotional meeting. The main reason for the need for Public Safety had to do with the need for Public Safety, in which every testimony testified of intoxicated people hurting families, and the communities as a whole.
At the end of the meeting, it was very sad to see the members representing their communities going to the liquor store and you know what happens.
According to some people’s understanding, on the job is to do the job according to the policies. But once they punch out, they can do whatever they want. Which is true. But as public figures, leaders, enforcers … shouldn’t that be the life of that person, especially village officials and village law enforcers?
I will close with this question, what is wrong with introducing and enforcing prohibition?
This is not final!
Andrew Boyscout is a resident of Chevak, AK.